For marketers, being able to segment audiences very precisely has always been a challenge. With the multiplication of digital touchpoints and channels, gathering all data in a single platform has become more and more difficult. Indeed, from CRM to Web Analytics and advertising platforms, marketers have to handle different data sources making it more complex to define a unique user segmentation. That is where Data Management Platform (DMP) comes in.
DMP has become a hot topic on the market just as programmatic or attribution has been over the past few years. But what is exactly a DMP?
What is a DMP?
A DMP could simply be defined as a data hub or data warehouse. After all, other types of digital data warehouses exist. AdWords stores your search data and Analytics your analytics data. The role of a DMP is to collect, process, centralize and analyze all kind of audience information in one single, unified location. Indeed, we as agency often hear the following questions from our clients:
- How can I couple my website audience with my CRM database?
- How to make sure Facebook & Google audience are targeted based on the same set of rules?
- How can I make sure to include audience from my preferred partner premium in my remarketing strategy?
A DMP will help you collecting all sources of data:
- First Party (your own data Analytics or CRM)
- Second Party (data resulting from a partnership or agreement)
- Third Party (external database from providers)
A DMP will collect them in one single platform, unifying them in order to build user new segments, refine your existing user segmentation with a personalized experience. DMP’s are usually linked to major advertising buying platform (Facebook, Google, DSP like Doubleclick or Adform) in order to make segments you create available for advertising.
Examples of potential DMP segments
Once data have been collected, you can start building your segments in the platform. Segments can be given any name and are defined based on a set of rules. Each segment should correspond to a profile or scenario you would like to test. Segment diversity and granularity will of course depend on the volume of data available and technical infrastructure but possibilities are numerous.
For instance, imagine a Telco company launching its new postpaid premium product offer directed to young men. DMP would use CRM data to segment men between 20 and 30 located in a certain area and call it the ‘gold premium segment’. Furthermore, the system would be able to create a lookalike audience for people that share the same characteristics on a certain database/network and call it ‘prospects similar premium’. The DMP would use 3rd party data to match them with the characteristics of your 1st party data (CRM). It would then target both segments with a promotional message encouraging them to subscribe to the new product.
Who are DMP technology providers?
The DMP market has been evolving over the last years. Its features respond to a market need and technology providers have understood how important data centralization challenge has become. The market is dominated by Adobe, Krux, Neustar, eXelate (owned by Nielsen) & Oracle Bluekai. Adobe has the advantage of offering integration of its full marketing solution suite which makes it a prefered solution for brands. Google, understanding market potential, has launched Google Audience center which is part of the recently launched Google Analytics 360 suite. It is also interesting for advertisers being already in the Google stack but the product is still at Beta stage.
DMP comes also with a cost that is not to be underestimated. For markets like Belgium, DMP’s will at first be integrated locally by brands having negotiated international contracts with technology providers.
Recommendations when starting DMP project
1. Dedicate enough resources
In order to make a DMP project successful, resources management will be key. You will need to involve a certain number of stakeholders (technology provider, agencies, marketing staff). A sufficient budget will need to be forecasted to cover technology, consultancy, web production and creative costs.
2. Ask yourself the right questions
It can sound like an easy statement but thinking carefully about your segment objectives and role of the DMP in you existing ecosystem is a must do. You might even realize you do not necessarily need a DMP to achieve what you need or do not have the right data architecture. Think in terms of business objectives: Reducing the cost per acquisition, increasing sales volume by targeting new prospect segments, working on an upsell strategy towards existing customers by providing them with personalized experience.
3. Start with scenarios that are easy to execute
Do not try to overcomplexify. DMP’s offer a lot of different scenario possibilities but try to start with impactful & simple scenarios. For example, a very common start is testing different approach towards prospects and clients that have been identified thanks to the DMP. This would already give you insightful learnings.
4. Make sure scenarios do not clash with existing marketing initiatives
You are about to launch a DMP project and test different scenarios but you realise some prospecting & customer segments are overlapping with your existing remarketing strategy. Make sure DMP segments focus on scenarios you do not cover yet with existing campaigns. For example, let’s say your remarketing campaign already targets your website visitors per key segments (all visitors, product page visitors, shopping card abandoners, buyers) displaying them a different message based on their engagement. In order to make a good use of your DMP, one concrete application would be to create a lookalike of these different segments and test new promotional messages. This would ensure separating strategies, allow better comparison and use DMP advanced feature.
5. Do not underestimate deployment time
DMP project covers many aspects: business, media, technical or creative. It means a lot of stakeholders might need to be involved where clear roles & responsibilities are set from the beginning. You might also need to go through technical prerequisites (tagging, tag management system, CRM linking, ..) in order to be able to build segments. Therefore good retro planning is key.
Author: Stéphane Juricic